5 Signs of Medication Diversion

We don’t have to tell you what a big problem opioid addiction is. You have patients with legitimate health issues that require some kind of pain relief. You have patients who’ve become addicted and seek ever more opioids to satisfy their craving for the drug. Then you have diverters, patients who seek pain medication they can sell on the black market. Here are 5 signs the patient in your examining room might be a diverter:

1. Impatience. Diverters often have strange stories about why they need the medication right away. Perhaps they are just about to catch a flight somewhere and need the medication immediately. Or they are on their way to an important appointment. Diverters show up at the end of the day, close to or just after visiting hours. They create a sense of urgency that may keep a doctor from asking questions or doing more research on the patient’s condition.

2. Reluctance to Cooperate. If creating a sense of urgency doesn’t work, a patient intending to divert medication might refuse a physical exam or give permission to access past medical records. These patients tend to leave the office suddenly if it looks like they won’t get their way.

3. An unusually high or low understanding of medications. Not every patient who has knowledge of their condition and the medication to treat it are diverters, but it’s another sign that they might be. Patients that have an almost textbook description of the medication or a patient who mispronounces or feigns ignorance about the medication is suspect.

4. Specific Drug Request. Again, a patient may know what’s worked in the past and ask for a specific medication. Diverters tend to request a specific drug and balk if a physician tries to offer a generic version or something other than what was requested.

5. Strange Symptoms. Diverters tend to exaggerate or feign symptoms. They have been known to drop blood from a pricked finger into a urine sample. If something seems not quite right, it usually isn’t.

If you’re interested in finding out how medication monitoring can inform your prescriptions, give us a call at 844.551.2857.